SINGAPORE — River Safari welcomed its newest member last month – a baby giant anteater – and the public are invited to vote for their preferred name for the female pup in the comments section of its video on Wildlife Reserves Singapore’s (WRS) Facebook page.
The baby giant anteater was born on 17 July, said WRS in a media release on Wednesday (21 August). Her mother, Iapura, had also given birth to her previous pup, Leona, at the River Safari on 3 March 2018.
Giant anteaters can have a single offspring once a year, after a gestation period of about six months.
Living on her mother’s back
The newborn pup weighed 1.6kg at birth, and now spends most of her time on her mother’s back.
As the colour of a pup’s coat of hair is almost identical to an adult’s, it allows the pup to blend in with her mother. This makes it hard to be spotted by predators, and also makes the mother appear larger and a less tempting prey in the wild.
Currently being fed her mother’s milk, the pup will gradually be weaned and introduced to solid food – a mixture of insectivore pellets and ant eggs – when she is about five months old.
Vote for shortlisted names on Facebook
The public can vote for two shortlisted names: Amazon, after the giant anteater’s natural habitat in the Amazon rainforest, or Estrella, meaning “star” in Spanish, the language most often spoken in her native region of South America.
The public can do so by commenting on a video of the pup on WRS’s Facebook page until Wednesday (28 August).
Iapura and her pup will be introduced to the giant anteater exhibit along River Safari’s Amazon River Quest boat ride when the latter turns four months old. In the meantime, guests can see either father Zapata or daughter Leona.
The giant anteater is the largest species of anteater out of four and is listed as vulnerable on International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, due to habitat loss, roadkill and hunting.
The animals cared for by WRS are part of the international conservation breeding programme managed by the European Association of Zoo and Aquaria.
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